Betis routs Levante for its third straight win in Spain

MADRID — Real Betis kept the momentum from its stunning win at Real Madrid by thrashing Levante 4-0 and moving closer to the top of the Spanish league on Monday.

Forward Antonio Sanabria, who scored the injury-time winner against Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium last week, netted a goal in each half against Levante to lead Real Betis to its third straight victory.

The Seville club moved to fifth place, one spot ahead of Madrid. It trails leader Barcelona by six points.

Real Betis dominated in front of a crowd of nearly 50,000 fans at Benito Villamarin Stadium.

Sanabria opened the scoring with a header two minutes into the second half, and Fabian Ruiz added to the lead less than 10 minutes later after making a great run from near midfield. Sergio Leon scored from close range, and Sanabria earned the final goal after a breakaway in injury time.

"There is no reason why we can’t contend for one of the spots in European competitions," Ruiz said. "It would be well-deserved for the fans and for this team."

It was the first loss for Levante, which a few rounds ago held Real Madrid to 1-1 at the Bernabeu. It dropped to eighth in the 20-team standings.

"When you make mistakes against a team that has been playing well like this, it can be costly," Levante defender Pedro Lopez said.